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February 23, 2020

TOGETHER IN MISSION 2020

If you have not yet had the opportunity to sign up to participate in our annual appeal, Together in Mission 2020, I encourage you to do so now.  Many of our families who have participated in prior years have received materials in the mail, and if you have not yet done so, I ask that you complete and return them at this time.  For those who haven’t received materials in the mail, or who may have misplaced them, materials were and continue to be available in Church.  It’s also possible to go online to www.ourmissionla.org and make your donation.  In choosing these options, I encourage you to note that you are participating as a member of Our Lady of Lourdes, Northridge, so that our parish goal can be credited by the campaign. 

LENT?  ALREADY?

Believe it or not, this coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of our Lenten Season.  Over the next few days it might be appropriate to reflect on what Lenten practices might be undertaken, or engaged in, for the forty days. 

Ash Wednesday (along with Good Friday) is a day of Fasting in the Universal Church.  Traditionally, everyone from ages 18 to 59 is expected to participate in the fast, which allows for one main meal, and two smaller meals which combined aren’t as significant as the main meal.

In addition, the traditional practice of the Church has been to abstain from meat (beef, lamb, chicken, pork, etc.) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, as well as on all the Fridays of Lent.  The practice of abstinence is expected of everyone from ages 14 to 59.

Those that are excused from fast and abstinence, other than outside the age limits, include the physically or mentally ill as well as individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes.  Also excused are pregnant or nursing women.  In all cases, common sense should prevail, and those who are ill should not further jeopardize their health by fasting.

The tradition of fasting has a long history in the Church.  course, the ultimate fast is the fast from sin, but different fasts have significance for those who engage in them. 

There are many who understand fasting as a way of re-orienting their priorities and as a way of prioritizing God above other things that are important in life. Fasting allows us to acknowledge our dependence on God, rather than on any resources that are usually available to us.  This can be a challenge for many, especially if there are tendencies or habits that are already ingrained in our lives… for example constant monitoring of our cell-phones or other electronic devices.  Imagine if, instead of checking our phones for the latest, we instead took five minutes in prayer with God…

Fasting is also a means whereby we can save resources to be given to the poor and less fortunate. As a child, we always had a little cardboard box in the center of our kitchen table during Lent.  Every day some money would be added to the box and at the end of Lent, the saved money would be forwarded to a charity that worked to alleviate hunger.  It’s the Operation Rice Bowl, idea.  You can find more information about Operation Rice Bowl online at crsricebowl.org

Here at Lourdes we are mindful of these different aspects to Lenten fasting, and every Friday there is a soup supper hosted in Stroup Hall, followed by an opportunity to participate in a communal prayer of the Stations of the Cross.  The suppers are simple, offering a wonderful opportunity for parishioners to join with one another during the Lenten journey.  Share a meal, join in a prayer together. 

Happy Lent.

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